Xeriscaping North Sanpete High will save water
By Rhett Wilkinson
MT. PLEASANT— The North Sanpete School District is planning to xeriscape landscapes at the North Sanpete High School and replace the football field with artificial turf, all in an effort to save millions of gallons of culinary water annually.
The plan has been in the works for more than a year now and the district is seeking a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Nan Ault, district superintendent.
Xeriscape is “a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques, such as the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch and efficient irrigation,” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
“That’s part of the plan as well, to remove a lot of the grass that we water and mow,” Ault told the Sanpete Messenger. “We’re xeriscaping as much property as we can and trying to reduce water use.”
Ault said in the Tuesday, Sept. 22 Mt. Pleasant City Council meeting that she needs the support of the city “to act as the financial agent.”
Ault has met with Mt. Pleasant Financial Director Dave Oxman and Zach Leavitt, the Six County Association of Governments regional planner, over the plan.
The plan is not guaranteed, Ault said.
“We have submitted it for approval, so until it is finalized, we are unsure,” Ault said. “But certainly hopeful. We’ve had great support from the city and everyone else, so we appreciate it. And Six County – they have been amazing.”
The xeriscaping of the NSHS property is estimated to save five million gallons of culinary water annually, according to SCAG and Sam Ray, former district superintendent.
There is also a plan to replace grass on the main football field with artificial turf. It is estimated to save two to three million gallons of culinary water annually, according to SCAG and Ray.
Utah State University’s department of landscape architecture and environmental planning has agreed to bring down faculty and students to do xeriscaping of the property.
Dan Anderson, the former mayor of Mt. Pleasant, signed the sponsorship last year, when the plan was being developed.
“The city actually supported the plan and this is where we are at now,” Ault said.
FEMA will review the application in January, Ault said.
Ault went to the meeting to ensure the council was still on board, she said. Ault did that because the plan is a year old, she said.
The finances of the plan are operated through the city, Ault said.
Councilman Justin Atkinson asked Ault if the application was a 75 percent grant. Ault said that means that the district has to match it 25 percent.
A year ago, Ray and Leavitt came up with the xeriscaping plan. Leavitt will also assist in getting the current application ready.
“He’s been the facilitator through this whole process,” Ault said.